Many writers, including myself, wrote the United States off as being done, dead, finished, and eliminated.
However, from the depths of their "half dug grave," the U.S. came back to life against Egypt, found a spark, and gained momentum. The Red, White, and Blue scratched and clawed their way into the semifinals of the Confederations Cup and met FIFA's No. 1 team in Spain.
"La Roja" had won 15 straight matches, and had not been defeated in 35 games until yesterday in South Africa.
Instantly, the energy was different from the U.S., as Bob Bradley found the right pieces. Whether it was the combination of Charlie Davies and Jozy Altidore attacking, or the return of Captain Carlos Bocanegra, the chemistry on the field was perfect.
With Jozy Altidore's rocket of a shot in the 25th minute, as a viewer you could sense a victory, but you were very hesitant.
As the start of the second half commenced, Spain went on an "all-out artillery" on the U.S. goal. But Tim Howard and his back line sent their shots back to where they came from every time.
With one mistake by Sergio Ramos in the 73rd minute, and Clint Demsey's "eye for the goal", the game was beginning to take form.
The United States had shocked the world.
Spain was slated as the best team in the world, as their record in previous matches proved.
However, the United States did not have to be the best team in the world. The red, white, and blue just had to be the best team on the field for 90 minutes.
The defense at times played "emergency defense," as commentator John Harkes said, but the back four were good enough to help Howard preserve his first shutout since April 1 against Trinidad and Tobago.
Call the game against Spain whatever you want, but the United States pulled off a miracle, reaching their first FIFA Finals game since the inception of the U.S. Soccer Federation in 1916.
Brazil and South Africa play today. The United States will have until Sunday to rest and prepare for their opponent. Most will expect for the same tactical lineup to be in place for their match, but whatever Bradley did or said to motivate his players, the national team will have to recreate that same performance once more.
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